I used to envision having kids and sending them to train and fight in Thailand at a young age. Now that I actually have kids it doesn’t seem like something I want to do. I guess it is the fear that your child might get hurt that has changed my mind, which was something I never really thought about until watching a knockout like this. I sat back and though about it a little more and the reason I wouldn’t have my kids do this is because they don’t need to. This, however, is no the case for many young kids growing up in poor rural areas in the Thai countryside.
Should children be allowed to fight? There will never be a definitive answer to this because it is all based on opinion. I understand the culture and why this happens, and I am not opposed to it. Unfortunately it is something that many will continue to frown upon, mainly those that are on the outside of the sport looking in. The ones that don’t take the time to research the art and the culture are always going to criticize it.
I am not saying it is okay to simply grab two kids and put them in a ring to fight. Situations are different all over the world, and in Thailand this is a way out. Take a look at Buakaw, the biggest name in the sport. He was born in the Surin Province of Thailand, which is a rural and poor area. He began his fighting career at 8 years old. Would he have found the success he has today if he had started fighting at a later age? Something tells me no.
Becoming a superstar like Buakaw is no the norm, but this is why these kids fight. This is their chance. It is no different than the eight year old in the United States or the United Kingdom that spends all his time shooting hoops with dreams of making it big. These kids have dreams, the only difference is they have to literally fight in hopes of achieving them.